Union says we need more investment, not more cuts
The government’s confirmation that the popular and effective network of DVLA offices around the country will close by the end of next year is a further blow to communities where jobs and face to face services will be lost, the PCS says.
The move, which will mean 1,200 job cuts and the loss of highly-prized direct services to the public and motor trade, comes despite widespread opposition including strikes by staff in the offices and a petition of 80,000 names.
The announcement by transport minister Justine Greening means the DVLA’s 39 local offices and 10 enforcement centres will close by December 2013.
But the union says the decision was clearly taken months ago because a public consultation found 79% of respondents wanted to keep the offices open.
The closures have nothing to do with improving services and stem solely from the government’s spending cuts, which require the DVLA to cut £100 million by 2015.
When these closures were proposed, DVLA claimed it would save £28m a year. However it now indicates it is only likely to be £5.6 million a year.
The union points out that this figure does not include the loss of tax and national insurance revenues to the exchequer or losses from the expected increase in road tax evasion.
DVLA staff from the offices held two-hour walkouts on 1 and 22 June as part of month-long rolling strikes across the Department for Transport and its agencies.
Fearing for the effect on their businesses, many motor traders remain opposed to the closures and more than 80,000 people have signed a petition started by the union.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “As a result of this government’s politically-motivated obsession with cuts, our communities stand to lose another 1,200 jobs and the public and traders will lose a service they rely on.
“When our towns and cities are crying out for investment, not more cuts, it’s scandalous that ministers are ploughing ahead with closures that the vast majority of people have opposed.”
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